Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Stay Report: Hilton Cape Town City Center

A Stay Report: Hilton Cape Town City Center 
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We were going to be in Cape Town for a little while, so I was looking for a hotel that was in the middle of everything.  From the name itself, the Hilton Cape Town City Center seemed to be in the middle of the city and it looked like it was within walking distance to several sights, services, and restaurants.  Hilton's are generally very nice, and they had a sale where I could use points + cash so decided to give them a try.

Prior to my arrival, I communicated with the hotel regarding airport transfers.  The hotel does not provide a shuttle, but connects passengers to Hertz Corporation for airport transfers.  Trying to communicate with the hotel and Hertz to arrange this was extremely difficult and the hotel did not respond nor communicate very well.  This interaction made me feel a bit hesitant about the customer service at the hotel, but I continued on with my reservation and made other transportation plans to the hotel.

I was able to check into the hotel 24-hours prior to my arrival thanks to the HiltonHHonors app, and through this app I selected my room.  The room selection for the bed type that I wanted – two beds – was limited and so I selected the room on the first floor all the way at end of the hallway.  Since I had done everything on-line, when I got to the hotel I just needed to pick up the key and the hotel attendant explained the hotel amenities and services.

The hotel is located at the edge of city district, where the city and the Bo-Kaap district meet.  The Bo-Kaap is a mainly Cape Malay and Muslim neighborhood, and the hotel has a very strong Middle Eastern feel to it – from the decorations, to the fragrance, to the hookah-type lounge (the hotel is undergoing renovations and I was informed that it is moving away from the Middle Eastern feel to a more ‘European/Chinese/Western’ type flare).  The hotel has a great location as it is within walking distance of many attractions – the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, the city center, and many restaurants and amenities.  The hotel also provides a limited shuttle to the V&A Waterfront, which runs every 2 hours there and back.  We took the shuttle once, and it was not a good experience as the service from the hotel seemed uncoordinated and a bit chaotic.  The driver was also very rude so we decided not to use this service anymore (the transportation system at the hotel needed improving).

The main entrance to the hotel is located on the corner of the street, and as its undergoing renovations things are not where they usually are.  As you enter inside the hotel, there is the concierge desk on your left hand side.  The concierge, especially at night, was very helpful in providing information and details of the city.  On the right hand side was a construction wall as the main restaurant was being renovated.  Behind the concierge desk was the sitting area and straight ahead was the check-in area.  In between the check-in area and the lounge was a chocolate store (which I never saw open) and a stairway that led upstairs to the restaurant that specialized in Indian food (and since the main restaurant was undergoing renovations, this is where breakfast, lunch, and dinner were being served).  The elevators were located across from the check-in area, near the construction wall which went from one end of the lobby to the next.
The hotel had about 6 floors, with the lobby on the ground floor and other amenities on the mezzanine floor.  The mezzanine floor contained the business center, the club lounge, the gym, some meeting rooms, access to the pool, and the hotel lounge.  The business center was small – with two computers – but was decent.  To access the gym, you went through the hotel lounge, and went next to the pool to the gym.  The gym was a decent size and provided a good workout.  The hotel also had free wifi, and did not limit the number of devices or the speed; this was a nice perk

The rooms themselves were very large and updated.  You entered the room in the hallway, with closets and the tea set-up along the right-hand wall.  The closets contained a safe, an ironing board with iron, as well as plenty of storage space.  As you entered into the room, there were two beds along the right-hand wall with a nightstand in between the beds.  Along the left-hand wall was a TV inside the wall, a faux-fireplace underneath the TV and a desk plus chair.  There was a window along the connecting wall that faced out onto the street and provided some nice views.  The beds themselves were very comfortable and big enough for one person.  The room was very spacious and provided enough room – you did not feel cramped at all. 

The bathroom was next to the beds; however, there was not a lot of privacy between the bedroom and the bathroom.  Yes there was a door, but the door was opaque so you could still see shadows and it did not come all the way to the top which allowed noise to travel into the bedroom.  Also, on either side of the door were glass panels which had some designs on them but basically allowed you to see directly into the bathroom.  The panels also did not completely go to the wall, and thus allowed for noise to come come to the bedroom.  While a nice design, the bathroom was not practically designed for privacy.  The bathroom itself was very large and contained a sink, a tub, a shower, and a toilet. 

Overall, the hotel was very nice and comfortable.  The hotel provided a nice spacious room, with free wifi, and was in a good location that enabled you to be within a 5-10 walking distance to many activities.  The concierge at the hotel, especially at night, was also very helpful in terms of providing information regarding the city.  What did not work were the bathroom layout as well as the transportation.  As the hotel is undergoing some renovations and transitions, this is taking an impact on its service – some aspects were up to the Hilton standards while others aspects needed work.  

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